Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just A Cat

After Felix appeared to be recovering from his stroke I watched for signs of his normal behavior. When he tried eating food out of his paw I was elated. It was another sign he was returning to his old self.

I was anxious for him to be able to jump up on things again. Like the desk in the kitchen, where the cats are fed out of reach of the dog. Or to jump on the dryer -- whenever a load of clothes were thrown in the dryer, Felix would jump up on the towel I kept there for him. Sometimes he would be so full of joy rolling around that he would fall off.

Felix would get so ecstatic when he was petted. But it wasn't enough to pet him -- he wanted to be in our faces. He would drape himself across our shoulders and rub his face against ours. There were times I thought he'd crawl down my throat if he could.

With Crab

With Me

I wanted to see the behavior that annoyed me, too. Like when the waterer was empty and Felix would jump on the toilet seat and bang, bang, bang the lid until I got up and gave him water. Or how he'd get excited when the birds were feeding and he would jump on my printer, run across the kitchen counter and stand by the sink looking out the kitchen window at the bird feeder, flip, flip, flipping his tail.

Sometimes I would look at my printer and see several copies that Felix had printed out of whatever happened to be in the scanner. Or I'd try to print something to discover that Felix had turned the printer off. He was also good at making flying jumps to look out the living room window sending my paperwork and books flying.

Crab was missing the Felix that slept with him. He tried to take Felix to bed one night but the bed was so high. Felix had been sleeping on a heating pad on the floor since his stroke. He was confused and not happy so Crab put him back in his safe spot.

But Felix was getting better! He started to come into the bathroom every time I went in there, hoping for some good petting while I was occupied on the throne. That went on for several days, then stopped.

He started sleeping more and eating less. Then he needed to be spoon fed again. I worked at getting enough food in him at each feeding.

Then we reached the end. No miracle stroke recovery stories. The end.

There is this perspective -- he was just a cat. One of many billions in the world. He was a cat I didn't want and a cat I was angry at much of the time. I will be finding his snot surprises for months to come, I'm sure. When I dug that hole weeks ago, I didn't dig under the cedar trees for fear of digging up the grave of one of many his predecessors. He was just a cat.

But I miss him.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


When H was little, she would freak at bugs. Once when I was photographing her as a diminutive beauty queen on her tricycle on the front stoop she started screaming. For no reason, it seemed to me. But OMG! A ladybug had landed on her handlebars!

Before the ladybug landed

"Ladybugs are our friends," I told her. "They eat aphids which destroy good plants."

She was not convinced.

At that time one of the older buildings on the farm was still standing. Inside the walls was a beehive. I used to hold my hand on the side of the building and feel the activity inside. I loved my bees.

The bees traveled around the farm looking for food and H freaked whenever she encountered one.

"If you don't bother them, they won't bother you and they will fly away. Bees are our friends! They pollinate plants and make wonderful honey."

She was not convinced.

Fast forward to today. The building and that bee hive are long gone. H is a grown up big girl. Bees are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.

She sent me one of those email stories with photos about what happens when you don't clean your BBQ grill. The photo story started with the chemical bomb the dude used to kill bees when he saw some bees coming out from under the cover of his grill. The next photo showed dead bees piled up under the grill -- "a 20mm deep mass grave". (Must not be a US grill cleaner because he'd measure in inches)

So the bees are dead, the dude is happy and until --

He discovers all the honeycombs under the grill! What a mess to clean! Poor dude!

I think H sent this to me in the spirit of "That's Incredible!", but I am a humorless bitch.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another Cat Update >^..^<

Today Felix moved around to avoid the vacuum cleaner instead of lying on the heating pad.

He is becoming more aware!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Felix Update

We've reached a milestone or two. Felix is eating a whole serving of food at time without me spooning it into his mouth. Better yet, I don't have to hold him while he eats. We can break the association of my lap with food.

I saw a glimmer of old Felix this morning when he reached his paw into his dish. He used to do that with the dried food -- reach in and dig out a chunk and eat out of his paw. Only the food didn't always stay in his paw long enough for him to eat it and there was always a mess around the dish.

I dreamed last night that he jumped up on the counter. But alas, it was only a dream. He eats, he drinks, he sleeps on the heating pad, he uses his box. Pretty good for a cat that was this [] close to going into a hole in the ground last week.

Thanks for the good kitty wishes! >^..^<

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Life Down, Eight to Go

Remember Felix?

Last Tuesday Felix was acting weird. He walked up against the end table table legs and looked at me and meowed and meowed. It was like he couldn't figure out how to move himself. I picked him up and tried putting him in his favorite resting spots, but he struggled to get out of them and kept heading back towards those table legs. He wasn't moving right. His left leg kept folding up underneath him.

He finally made it to where he wanted to be -- curled up on the carpet next to the heat register. I decided two things. 1. Felix wanted to be warm. 2. Felix was dying.

I wanted to make him comfortable while he peacefully died. I covered the heating pad with a flannel pillow case and put in near his warm spot. He soon found it.

On Wednesday, he staggered out, got a drink, used the box and went back to the heating pad. I'd bought a couple of cans of cat food and fed him a tablespoon or so and gave him some water with the bulb syringe.

On Thursday, I fed him some more of the canned food. Then I went out and dug a hole for the inevitible burial. Then Felix groomed himself. Got more water. Used the box and went back to bed. He really rallied.

On Friday he ate the rest of the can of food. It was no small task -- I'd given up on H's baby spoon and was using my fingers to put food in his mouth. He chewed gratefully, sometimes on my fingers. I made a wooden spoon out of a big popsicle stick with my Dremel. He knew he wanted food -- he just wasn't sure how to get it.

And I have been holding him in my lap at least twice a day, spooning food into his mouth. He comes out to drink and use his box, I guess. I haven't monitored his every move. Every day he is a little more active but he always returns to the heating pad.

Crab and I decided he had a stroke. His left leg still folds sometimes when he moves and he often circles to the right. I looked cat strokes up on the web and see that many cats recover from strokes. So I'm hoping for the best. I don't know how long I can stuff stinky food into his mouth. A hole awaits him if my patience runs out.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ch - Ch- Changes

On Tuesday it was 72 degrees. On Wednesday, it was 65. Still great weather for November in Iowa. On Thursday, the rain moved in.

It only looks icy.

But the day after that -- well, this is what I woke up to.

Snow on the Subaru

The most important change happened on Tuesday. I am still basking in the glow even if Barack Obama has rolled up his sleeves and gone to work. I think about the election and our new president all the time. I am so happy. So proud. So hopeful.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Can I Take This Down Now?

This has been on the side of my frig for a few years. I'm sure my right-leaning neighbors gagged whenever they walked into my house since the side of my frig is the first thing you see.

Please tell me the party's over!

I think I will save this image in my trunk with the newspapers of 9/11, the floods and Hurricane Katrina. It belongs with the disasters.

Super Happy Funtime is doing her best to keep me posted and upbeat. Click your heels three times... We're almost home....

Is It Over Yet?

There are no results posted anywhere that I have seen. Believe me, I have been checking. The most I've gotten done today is voting, surfing, posting and eating lunch.

To provide substance to this post, I'll add some corn pictures. We are still enjoying unseasonably balmy temps. The farmers are hurrying to clear the fields before (oh, how I hate to say this) the snow comes on Friday. It is 70 degrees right now. On Election Day! Prepare for many months of me complaining about the weather.

Mountains in Iowa

Building mountains, one load at a time.

K Town covered in dust.

It's not snow yet!

Still not snow!

The dust machine.

I Am Beside Myself

I have a fluttery feeling in my stomach. I can't concentrate. I want to start celebrating but am afraid the boogey man will take over all the voting machines to spite me.

I waited until 10 to vote because I wanted to avoid the crush when the doors opened. If you knew my polling place, you would laugh. Here is a short tour of the Greenfield Township polling center:

Click to see the big picture!

The lovely election ladies help Kelcie

Kelcie wanted to try the touch machine.

I used one of the booths to fill in my ovals.

My reward. Well, that and a new president.

Now that I have voted I have time to drive to Chicago for Obama's party in the park. But I will sit, spin and obsess here instead. Tomorrow is a great new day!

Monday, November 03, 2008


This blog is brought to you by electrical lines.

Flower Lines

Love Line?

Sky Line

Rail Lines

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Gretchen's Big Adventure

I loaded up Gretchen this morning and we went to my mom's, a place she's never been. I've never taken her before because Gretch is conveniently deaf and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to control her. My fears were unfounded. She behaved and had a wonderful time. People, you know Gretchen is my dog, and I am not depriving a grandchild of seeing her grandma.

It was such a gorgeous, wonderful, unbelievable day. This is November??

We started out through the walnut woods. The dense woods around the house are trees that my parents planted themselves.

When we got close to the river Gretchen found the rivulet and wallowed in the shallow, muddy water like a pig. We were laughing so hard I didn't get a picture. Not to worry about the mud, though, Gretchen discovered the river itself soon enough and took a bath.

Mom watching Gretch swim.

Most of the trees they planted were walnut and pine but they did plant a few oaks.

Oak tree

My mom's favorite tree is one that was already there, a hackberry. It has great arms that beg you to climb up and sit on them.

Favorite from afar

We used to go to Mom's to get our Christmas trees but the trees are way to big now. Right before I took this picture, an owl flew out of the pine forest.

I left mom's with a trunk full of garden goodies and a tired dog in the back seat. I'm going to wake the dog up so we can go out into the fields to pick up food for this guy:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crab Asked For It

Get your shirt now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fun With Graphics

If you are watching the debates tonight remember: